The coastal plains are bustling with plant life and animal life only to be seen in this part of the country. A piece of legislation could soon help to designate this habitat in undeveloped parts of Galveston and surrounding counties as a national park later this year.

The designation would be known as the Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area. The LSCNRA is envisioned as a non-contiguous cluster of open lands, historic sites and structures within Matagorda, Brazoria, Chambers and Galveston counties. The move would preserve wetlands and the Gulf Coast’s natural treasures for future generations.

Once the national park designation is received, participants will become part of the National Park Service, joining the ranks of other iconic national parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone. For its part, the NPS brings some funding and staffing to the table, contributing its expertise in areas such as education, visitor services and planning.

Becoming part of the NPS would allow the LSCNRA to showcase its unique natural habitat. It is expected that this partnership will increase tourist visitation and have a positive economic impact on the counties that participate. According to a study, at seven NPS sites similar to the LSCNRA, visitation grew an average of 565 percent in the first 10 years of operation, providing a significant economic benefit for the local communities.

In order for the proposed Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area to become a designated unit of the NPS, a member of the Texas congressional delegation must introduce a bill, congress must pass it and the president must sign it into law. Proposed legislation to designate the LSCNRA has been drafted by the LSCNRA Coalition. Plans are being made to introduce the legislation in congress this year.

“It’s our hope that the LSCNRA designation will encourage those who live in city settings, like Houston, to get out and explore this special natural environment in their backyard,” said Victoria Herrin, National Parks Conservation Association campaign manager.

Park board meetings are open to the public and the public may address the board of trustees during the meetings. Park board meetings are typically held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 1:30 p.m. at 601 Tremont St. If you are interested in seeing a park board issue discussed in this column or if you have any questions, please send them my way. I can be reached at mbassett@galvestonparkboard.org.

Mary Beth Bassett

is the public relations coordinator for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.

(3) comments

Katrina Evenhouse

This is a huge land grab by the Federal Government. This is 25 miles in and 4 counties wide. They want our Coastline and our water. Why can't we see the legislation? Let's pass the bill and then see what's in it. They tell us that no land will be taken? But if you look at legislation on NPS they revise legislation on National Recreation areas yearly. They have been trying to get our Coastal property since 2008 through oil spills, coastal hurricanes and through grants to give these globalist control of our lands. They are telling us only one government organization will be involved. Well the NPS is partners with the US Dept of Interior and then the list of federal Bureaus goes on and on. Bureau of Land Mgmt, Bureau of Ocean Energy Mgmt, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, US Fish and Wildlife and more... So telling us only one Government Agency is involved is a lie. When they first began this LSCNRA it was 50% the partners and 50% Government. And why do we want a Steering Committee to tell us what to do with our property. And John Nau is the best at getting the people's property he has been doing it for years. They will even teach you how to find Wetlands, which don't have to have water on them to be declared a wetland. Once your property is declared a wetland you can not do anything with your property, except pay taxes on it. Call all your Representatives and tell them NO to this land grab by the Federal Government.

Steve Fouga

I'm generally in favor of creating national parks, forests, seashores, etc. However, I'm not sure this area is worthy of the designation. I wouldn't choose to visit it as a tourist. I'd drive another few miles and visit Galveston, Surfside, or Bolivar. I'm not necessarily against the designation, but I don't see what the attraction would be.

Diane Brodie

Of Houstonians aren't interested in coming down to the cost now, I Dont see how a National Park designation will change that.

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